Pansies on Ebay

A lot of talk. A lot of talk about what needs to be done to save the environment. A lot of talk about what needs to be done to stop global warming. A lot of talk about less pollution, cap and trade, cleaner streams, saving the oceans, recycling, conservation, eating local, using fewer fossil fuels, and lowering your carbon footprint. But let’s face it, it isn’t fun to do without.

Eating chocolate from Belgium is nice. But, eating kiwis from New Zealand, bananas from Panama, apples from Washington, and oranges from Florida comes at a price. When it is 50 degrees out and raining, do you use the dryer or line dry? Asking people to consciously use less, use a blanket instead of turning up the heat, becoming a vegetarian, and shuttling your family around town without a car requires a bit of pain…pain of missing out, of being cold, augmenting a lifestyle. Ultimately—how much discomfort am I willing to endure for what I believe, and for how long?

It didn’t work for Carter. When the gas crunch hit in the late 70’s, Carter urged people to use less, to turn down the thermostat, put on a sweater, and conserve. Every light switch of my youth had a conserve sticker on it. But as soon as the solar panels were put on the White House by Carter, they were ripped off by Reagan. The act of removal was an indication of things to come. Consumption with disregard for conservation. As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” For a revolution in mindset and living to occur, it must begin with the individual, it must begin with me.

This idea of sacrifice for the greater good worked for FDR during the WW2. People were rationed, told to recycle, and conserve for the war effort. People could get behind that because they felt there was an imminent threat. Interestingly enough, people brought in their old tires for recycling, and the government took them…but the technology to recycle them wasn’t invented until after the war. Instead they were put a land fill. The point though was that they did it…and did it willingly.

So what can I, one person do. I pledge to fast. A vow of silence of a sort. To the best of my ability, I will be green as much as possible. I will try not to use fossil fuels, instead I will use my own power, bicycle, walk and run. Yes, it took oil to make the tires and tubes, and it took oil to ship it to me, but does making an impact mean a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing asceticism? If need be, I will use public transportation, or say to get to a meet for the boys, I will carpool. But I can’t willingly drive for convenience sake. I will use a real towel not a paper one. Use a real plate not a paper one. Not take bags at the grocer, but bring my own. If I need new clothes, I’ll get them from Goodwill.

I will attempt to eat only locally. Food that was produced within 100 miles. Thankfully, here in Oregon that is far simpler than say in Phoenix. I will use farmer’s markets, farm stands, community supported agriculture, and frequent area grocers and restaurants that make local food and beer 🙂 their priority.

The little money that I am making is all being conserved to buy a “peace” of land for all people to share. To farm, eat, and live off the land. The goal is to have all power come from solar, eat from the fruit of my labor, and till the ground by hand, and not by tractor.

We hold in such reverence to the Native American peoples, that from our vantage, lived in such peace with the land, but never try to imitate them. Of all the country that I ran through, the only places where there were no fences, was on Indian land. The biggest mistake I have made in my life is ever for a moment thinking that I am removed from you. The only thing that I can do, is to be my best, do my best, and live like you are counting on me…because I am counting on you.